Central team for Kandhamal arrives,Orissa decides assistance

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 17 (UNI) Prior to the arrival of a central team led by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, the Orissa government has announced the quantum of assistances to be provided to the religious institutions damaged during the communal riots in the strife-torn Kandhamal.

The team is scheduled to meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik this evening before leaving for Kandhamal tomorrow where it would make an assessment of the rehabilitation and reconstruction work undertaken by the state government and visit the riot-hit areas.

The state government for the first time decided to provide assistances to various religious institutions which were set ablaze, ransacked and damaged during the unprecedented communal violence in Kandhamal which claimed 36 lives.

Never in the past had the government provided any assistance to the religious institutions either during any natural calamity or violence.

Official sources said while small prayer houses would receive assistances ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000, the institutions like Church, Temple, Gurudwara and Mosque, if damaged in the communal violence, would receive assistance ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh depending upon the extent of damages submitted by the local Revenue Inspector.

The Christian bodies had urged the state government to provide at least Rs 3 crores for reconstruction of churches and prayer halls destroyed in the communal violence.

The state government was initially hesitant to provide any assistance to the religious institutions but later agreed as the Apex Court, while disposing of a petition filed by Archbishop of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar Raphael Cheenath, asked the state government to consider generously the assistance to the religious institutions damaged during the communal violence.

UNI DP KK AKJ ND1815

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